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Rollies no safer than tailor-mades – NZ research

Media release

Embargoed til 0100 hrs Sunday 21 September 2008


Rollies no safer than tailor-mades –NZ tobacco research


A number of roll-your-own (RYO) brands of cigarettes do at least as much harm as a popular tailor-made cigarette, research released by the Ministry of Health shows.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Ministry’s National Director of Tobacco Control says, ”We found that 5 top-selling brands of loose tobacco used in rollies are no safer than the most commonly sold tailor-mades, and some brands actually produce more cancer-causing substances.“

The research measured differences between same-brand tobaccos marketed as regular and those marketed as mild, with and without filters, and compared the findings with the tailor-made cigarette.

“Anyone who thinks rollies are safer is wrong. There are a lot of myths around tobacco harm, like loose tobacco is more natural with fewer additives so it’s less harmful. It’s not just wrong, but some rollies are potentially more harmful,” Dr Bloomfield says.

“For most of the brands we tested we found that tobacco companies market as ‘mild’ is just as harmful as ‘regular’ tobacco. Rollies can be as harmful and sometimes more harmful than tailors. And in this testing, adding a filter made no difference to the risk of exposure to cancer-causing substances.”

The research was based on what was considered a conservative 0.4 grams of tobacco per roll-your-own cigarette, and measured the carcinogen exposures per milligram of nicotine delivered. Nicotine is the highly addictive substance in tobacco, and is not cancer-causing itself.

“We know that most New Zealand smokers want to quit. If rollie smokers needed another reason to quit smoking, this is it. My advice is to give yourself the best chance of quitting successfully by getting support and using nicotine replacement therapy. The Quitline (0800 778 778) is a good place to start. And keep trying.”

A copy of the report, Mainstream smoke emissions from ‘roll-your-own’ loose-leaf tobacco sold in New Zealand, is available at www.moh.govt.nz/media


ENDS

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